This strawberry popcorn is flavored with strawberry sugar made with freeze dried strawberries. It tastes like kettle corn with a hint of strawberry!
Obviously the popcorn kernels and oil are important (otherwise you wouldn’t have anything to season, or your home would perpetually have eau de burnt popcorn), but the freeze dried strawberries are probably the most important component for us to talk about.
Freeze Dried Strawberries
Freeze dried strawberries are dried until they’re super crispy. The crispiness doesn’t really matter for this recipe, even if the lack of water and the concentrated flavor do.
Don’t substitute fresh or frozen strawberries for the freeze dried strawberries here; they’re so wet that they would make the popcorn soggy, and no one wants that.
The strong flavor comes from getting rid of all that extra moisture, and makes this perfect for flavoring some popcorn.
I typically buy freeze dried strawberries from Trader Joe’s, but I’ve also seen them at Target and Super Walmart, and I’m sure you can find them at Sprouts, Whole Foods or another higher end natural grocery store.
Usually I snack on any leftover freeze dried strawberries, but if you’re feeling ambitious, how about transforming them into strawberry mochi cookies or caramelized white chocolate cupcakes with strawberry buttercream?
How to Make
I like to make the strawberry seasoning first so that it’s ready to go once the popcorn is popped, and it’s not waiting around.
So, let’s do that.
Place the freeze dried strawberries, sugar and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend/process until the strawberries are mostly broken down into powder, scraping down the inside of the container if needed.
Set the strawberry sugar aside for now while you pop the popcorn kernels.
Drizzle oil over the warm popcorn, then add the strawberry seasoning and toss to coat. Serve within a few hours!
There are a few different tips in making sure that the popcorn gets evenly coated.
- Make sure there’s enough oil: it might sound like a lot of oil, but all of this oil is crucial in making sure that all the seasoning sticks. I’ve definitely tried to skimp, and there was a bunch of abandoned seasoning at the bottom of the bowl, so don’t do that.
- I wouldn’t recommend using an aerosol for this reason, since it’s hard to figure out how much oil you’re adding.
- Break down the strawberries: the strawberries should mostly be broken down into powder; it’s fine if there are a few chunks left, but the finer the better, since the powder sticks better to the popcorn.
- Spread the oil and seasoning all over: drizzling the oil, as well as sprinkling the strawberry sugar, over all of the popcorn is key (don’t dump the oil and sugar in one spot).
Pop the popcorn however you would like. My parents have an air popper which makes things very easy (dare I say foolproof?), so I’d say use that if you have one.
I don’t have an air popper at home though, and I’m definitely not about to buy one (I’d much rather spend my money on traveling and expensive meals, tyvm). Should you be in the same boat as me, as long as you have a big pot, you’re good to go.
Add oil and popcorn to the pot, set over medium heat on the stove, then cover it. Shake the pot (please wear oven mitts!) with the lid on while you hear the popping noises, then turn off the heat when you hear the popping noises subside.
A bag of microwave popcorn also works! Make sure it’s not pre-seasoned, and if it comes with oil or butter, no need to add more before using the strawberry sugar.
I don’t like making popcorn ahead of time, even if the popcorn is stored in an airtight container. It’s not quite as fresh, so I’d recommend making as much as you can eat within a day.
This is a strawberry popcorn post, though that shouldn’t stop you from experimenting with other freeze dried fruit! Cinnamon apple popcorn sounds like it’d be amazing, especially during the fall.
This recipe is written to use canola or vegetable oil. That being said, you can use butter, peanut oil, or any other fat you’d like.
I’ve also tested this with coconut oil, and it was definitely more buttery tasting than canola oil. Not a bad thing, just something to note if you’re thinking of using coconut oil!
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1/2 cup freeze dried strawberries
- ¼ cup popcorn kernels
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil divided
In a blender or food processor (the smaller the better), combine the sugar, salt and strawberries. Process until the strawberries are as fine as possible, but it’s fine if there are still a few chunks left over. Set aside while you work on the popcorn.
Pop the popcorn however you would like, whether that be in an air popper, on the stove in a big pot, or even using a bag of microwave popcorn.
If you pop the corn on the stove, place 1 ½ tablespoons oil and the popcorn in a big pot over medium heat and cover. Shake the covered pot (while wearing oven mitts) when you start to hear the kernels pop, then remove from the heat and uncover.
Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over the popcorn, and sprinkle the strawberry sugar on top. Toss to coat and serve!
You can use any oil you’d like (ie peanut, coconut), or even use butter.
Make sure you use freeze dried strawberries and not fresh or frozen (they’re too watery and will make the popcorn soggy).